While setting up GeekScribes, we explored a number of blogging platforms on which we could base our site. We tried B2Evolution, Serendipity and finally WordPress. I wanted to stay away from WordPress because of its reputation for attracting spammers. So we installed both Serendipity and B2Evolution. Here’s the review!
First we installed Serendipity which looked promising. The templates looked good and it seemed to have the features required.
Installation was a breeze. Just create the DB, set permissions, go to the install folder and launch the script from there. After some configuration, Serendipity was working. People say, first sight counts. Well, Serendipity didn’t really convince me at first sight. It was… dull. Nothing was really eye-catching. So I went into the admin panel to see what’s there.
As expected, the most common features were there alright. It was neatly ordered in, again, a dull interface, consisting of a simple left menu. The options were not that varied, but the basic was there.
Now I don’t know why, but Serendipity was not really pleasing to me. I asked Neel and he seemed to have the same opinion. After some fooling around, we were still not convinced and thought we’d let Serendipity aside for now, and give B2 its chance. I have to admit that we didn’t really extensively test Serendipity. Its looks drove us away…
Now, we created another DB for B2, again went through the easy installation script.
Now B2 seemed quite pleasing. It didn’t have the dull first-sight appearance of Serendipity. The admin panel was full of options, and going through all of them was quite time-consuming, considering how many options there were.
B2 was installed and ready to go. We even made 2 posts to it and it started attracting visitors. But after some browsing around, something caught my eye, and I really really wanted to change from B2 to another platform. A large number of users have been writing about migrating from B2Evolution to WordPress, for reasons as varied as spamming to a difficult installation. People often criticized its “slow development” and its centralized spam blacklist not being updated often, and some other random flaws in its spam protection.
I have to agree though. The installation was easy, but configuring and using B2 is not very easy. Its core system of stub files and whatever is not very easy to understand to beginners. It required code-editing for very basic stuff as re-routing feeds to Feedburner (which I still haven’t been able to accomplish). And didn’t have as much anti-spam plugins as WordPress. The themes too were not that varied, though they were quite pleasing.
I really didn’t want my comments being filled with spam, specially about porn stuff since it really ruins a site. I have past experience with a site going down after being over-run with spam. It literally drives your visitors away. So, considering the number of articles I saw about people moving to WordPress and scrapping B2, the articles about migrating your posts to WordPress from B2 etc… prompted me to change. I also tried to find people going from WordPress to B2, but there were not as many as going away from B2.
One thing I really liked about B2 is its ability to support multiple blogs from one installation. This looked particularly interesting; we could get several blogs in one address. WordPress doesn’t support multi-blogs natively.
So what were the alternatives? Movable Type? It’s not the easiest things to use apparently. And it’s not totally free. Expression Engine? Again not totally free. TextPattern? Its looks drove me away. It’s WAY too formal for our site. Only one alternative remained. WordPress.
I asked Neel about going WordPress and he agreed. You can imagine the amount of “I told you so” and “We should have done that at the beginning” I got. 😛
Anyways, WordPress’ installation was a breeze. They really do uphold their reputation about their 5-minutes installation system. I think I took less! It was up and running in no time!
Configuring WordPress is child’s play when compared to B2. To fully customize B2, I took around 3 hours. For WordPress? In under 45 minutes, it was up and ready to go. Plugins took care of most things like Feedburner and anti-spam. We were up and running in under 2 hours. Again, I got a huge amount of “You see?” from Neel… Arghh! *Remind himself to listen to Neel next time.*
That’s it. I’m personally happy with WordPress, and Neel seems to be delighted, jumping and running about, although I can’t confirm that. For now, we’ll stay at that until something better comes our way.
Overall, B2Evo rules in terms of sheer amount of customizable features. WordPress rules in terms of ease-of-use. Serendipity rules in terms of simplicity. They all have their strong and weak points, but I must say the scales really tip in favor of WordPress.
– Easy to install and use
– Clean interface
– Simple to understand and use
– Dull looks and looks kinda “empty”
– Lack of plugins and skins
– Loads of customizability
– Easy to install
– Clean Front-end
– Multi-user blogs (multi-blogs platform)
– Lacks spam protection (according to articles, untested)
– Lacks plugins and basic features (Feedburner?)
– Too much customizability makes it time-consuming to personalise
– Interface not very easy to understand
– Apparently slow development and centralized blacklist not being updated often
– Extremely fast installation. It’s up and running in no time.
– Clean and very easy to use front-end and admin panel
– Loads and loads of plugins and skins
– Features are ok. Nothing missing till now. Plugins can be used for the rest
– Apparently suffers from spam-attacks (it’s solved I think)
– No multi-blogs on a single install
– First releases are sometimes buggy
In comparison: B2Evolution 2.4.1 vs WordPress 2.3.3 vs Serendipity 1.3